Knight: Pompey must improve higher up the pitch

The New York Stadium served up another kick in the teeth for Pompey.

Monday, 22nd January 2018, 7:00 pm
Brett Pitman had a great chance to hand Pompey the lead in the first half against Rotherham Picture: Joe Pepler

To have the better chances in the first half and defend so magnificently in the second, only to lose it at the death, was tough to take.

Up until Bristol Rovers we had handled defending late into games very well – but sometimes you get a run of results when that comes crashing down.

Rotherham had possession, they played across us, but never really caused a problem.

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Luke McGee didn’t have a lot to deal with over the full 90 minutes.

Pompey’s defence were superb, working as a team, being put under a lot of pressure from corners, but bodies were put on the line and our players prepared to throw themselves at everything flying around.

Such was the nature of the result, people will forget such heroics and the fact the rearguard was excellent for the majority of the game.

In the first minute of time added on, we switch off slightly, Michael Smith is allowed a little too much opportunity to cross from the right and Joe Mattock heads home at the far post.

Jamal Lowe’s shape was, unfortunately, all over the place, he should have been side on rather than facing the goal. Having said that, he is not a defender, so it is difficult for him.

I thought we did okay in the first half and had the better of the chances. You could argue we ended up paying the price for that by subsequently losing.

If you don’t take such opportunities, it piles on added pressure – and you could see Rotherham must have had a rollicking at the interval.

Paul Warne’s side stepped up and it really was relentless.

We had a problem holding the ball up and it quickly came back every time.

The manager has to look at how to keep the ball up top longer than they did.

It’s those fine lines and needing to take those goal chances.

At the moment they have dried up a bit to stop us nicking games 1-0.

We know this team can defend, that has been shown this season, there have been lots of clean sheets.

Wigan, where we got a point, and the awful conditions at Blackburn have been the only time we’ve really been battered.

Defensively, we do look a good unit – but not scoring adds pressure.